This might be what some folks think of as a “hot take.” I was talking with a new friend at my church community group earlier this week (shout out to Shaina!) and we were talking about how familiar Shawn Mendes feels…because he basically picked up where Nick Jonas and the Administration left off.
Yeah I know, you’re asking “what is Nick Jonas and the Administration??” I’m about to blow your mind and make you believe in the power of the Jonas Brothers (maybe).
So, back when the Jonas Brothers were basically the kings of Disney Channel (circa 2009-2010), to fulfill a contractual obligation, they let Nick do a solo album. This solo album was called “Who I Am” and Nick put together a band of more jazzy, bluesy, funky musicians that he called the Administration.
The Administration? What is that all about?
There was a running joke in the Jonas fandom that Nick was so diplomatic, articulate, and reserved that he should run for president. So this was a call out to that inside joke.
ANYWAY, BACK TO THE STORY.
It was a step away from the pop/rock goodness that him and his brothers made. Nick Jonas and the Administration only made that one album (again, to fulfill a contractual obligation).
When Nick went fully solo, he ran to R&B and electronic music, basically what all the “cool kids” were doing in 2015-2016. I personally was shocked. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FUNK, NICK?!
Around the same time, a cute lil’ kid from Canada came out all over the radio and on my radar with the song “Stitches.” Shawn Mendes came out with his guitar in hand, fresh off Vine, ready to take the troubadour title that Nick Jonas hung up when he shaved off his curls and got all buff.
Shawn was an instant heartthrob. I was disconnected from the whole craze because #1 I was trying to be a mature college lady and #2 I was living in China. I heard “Stitches” after a friend showed it to me and I latched onto it because I was going through a serious boy trouble at the time. The song hit home so hard. It was over for me when “Treat You Better” came out.
As Shawn’s career took off and he developed his artistry, the influences of John Mayer partnered with the pop-iness of the Jonas Brothers, One Direction, and other boybands came out. By the time he released his self-titled album, he was experimenting with more complex rhythms, falsettos, and funk.
I was surprised listening to his self-titled album because although he was branching out, it was so vulnerable yet groovy and always Shawn Mendes-like. Lost in Japan specifically got me. Every time I listen to it, I want to pack my bags and get on the earliest flight to Tokyo.
Shawn and Nick have always coexisted, but the direction that Nick almost went in with his solo career is exactly where Shawn Mendes is now. Need proof? Listen to “Vesper’s Goodbye” by Nick Jonas and the Administration then “Why” by Shawn Mendes.